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Materials Science Project Ideas (34 results)

Materials science is a fascinating area of research that is often at the cutting edge of science and engineering. It involves both developing new materials and improving on existing ones, and has important applications both for improving daily life and for advancing other fields of research. You can try your hand at making and testing all kinds of substances from plastic to slime with our collection of materials science projects.

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Science Fair Project Idea
The insides of a car engine get very hot when the engine is running. Motor oil lubricates the moving parts, to keep the engine operating smoothly. What happens to motor oil as the engine temperature goes up? Read more
MatlSci_p019
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision required. Use caution when heating oil in the water bath, and when handling hot containers.
Science Fair Project Idea
You've probably noticed that the price of gasoline has been going up and up lately. Heating oil will probably cost more this winter than last winter, too. Using good insulation material is one way to conserve energy and save money. What insulation materials work better than others? Read more
MatlSci_p016
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Do you ever go camping with your family and roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire? If you want your campfire to burn long into the evening, what is the best wood to use? Do research on the necessary conditions/materials to sustain a fire and on the properties of different types of wood. Which properties do you think will be most important for determining how fast the wood burns? For example, how do you think density would be related to burning rate? Why? Measure the density and… Read more
MatlSci_p026
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Safety Adult supervision required.
Science Fair Project Idea
The different species of wood used in construction offer a variety of challenges based on density, porosity, oils in the wood, flexibility, elasticity, etc. The intended use, e.g., structural or cosmetic, presents different challenges as well. The glue must be compatible with the wood, the use, and the climate, so many experiments are possible. For example, you could design an experiment to test the durability of different adhesives using the same wood. Or, you could try different wood… Read more
MatlSci_p027
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
If you'd rate yourself high on the bacteriophobia scale, just keep on scrolling down to the next project. Bacteria are all around us, and normally our body's defenses keep us blissfully unaware of them. If you don't mind finding out where they're lurking in your house, then you might find this project interesting. Read more
MatlSci_p017
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Familiarity with sterile laboratory technique is a big plus.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Standard precautions for handling bacterial cultures.
Science Fair Project Idea
If you like to fish and you'd rather not be telling the story of "the one that got away," then this is a project for you. What combination of properties makes for the best fishing line? Here are some suggestions for getting started on your background research into fishing line properties: knot strength, abrasion strength, shock strength, tensile strength, limpness, controlled stretch, and desired range of visibility (Dodson, 2006). Choose the properties that you think are most important, and… Read more
MatlSci_p028
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
It's hard to imagine a world without paper. You wouldn't have things like books, cards, comics, newspaper, construction paper, notebooks, cereal boxes, or that nice sound of shredding wrapping paper on your birthday. There was a time, though, when the only thing people had to write on were slabs of soft, squishy clay. When these slabs dried in the sun, they preserved simple ideas, but they were heavy, like carrying around a load of rocks. Not exactly easy to put in your pocket and carry around.… Read more
MatlSci_p040
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to order papyrus paper or papyrus strips for making paper from an online supplier. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury is possible. Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
Did you know that you can make a simple hygrometer (a device for measuring the relative humidity of the air) with hair? This type of hygrometer is easy to build (for instructions, see: ). Does the type of hair used in the hygrometer affect the accuracy of the results? Do some types of hair respond faster than others? Do some types of hair give a larger (or smaller) response? You could get hair samples from classmates, or a local beauty shop. Use hair samples of equal length to construct… Read more
MatlSci_p035
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Here's a project for a budding architect or structural engineer. Can you make a strong, lightweight tower using only uncooked spaghetti and white glue? In this project, you'll learn about materials testing and apply what you learn to building and testing structures that are both strong and light. Read more
MatlSci_p009
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury possible: keep hands and feet clear when testing strength of finished structures.
Science Fair Project Idea
Does your hair go crazy when the weather turns damp? Did you know that strands of hair can relax and lengthen when the humidity increases and then contract again when the humidity decreases? In fact, hair strands can be used as the basis for a hygrometer, a device which measures the humidity level in the air. Can a human hair hygrometer also detect changes in hair structure caused by chemical lightening? This project shows you how to find out. Read more
MatlSci_p020
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision required for working with hydrogen peroxide-based hair lighteners. Wear protective gloves and eye wear.
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